Last week turned out to be one of the most torturous of my life. Work was unbearably busy and stressful, and my man flu turned out to be a chest virus. But, I was determined not to let my ailment and pathetic immune system get the best of me, and come Thursday I was ready to “let the dogs out” (thank you Alan).
Thursday night kicked off with a wonderful dinner party hosted by the Chelsea Girl, followed by a few cocktails in a local bar. I was still on the water but having a better time than last Thursday when I was wrestling with my housemate for the last lemsip.
Friday was a different kettle of fish. Despite being completely knackered I made it into work as early as possible to ensure that I could leave…as early as possible. Come half four I was out the door like a whippet up a drainpipe, pedalling down the Embankment as fast as I my unnaturally big thighs could take me – slowing down once or twice to check out a jogging hottie catch breath. I got home, killed some more bad guys online, got into my casuals and hit the Hollywood Arms for a friends 30th birthday party. Where I preceded to make fun of my friend’s ridiculous shirt, eat a load of mini hamburgers, drink too much champagne/Appletinis and allow a fatigue induced alcohol coma force me into heading home around midnight.
The majority of Saturday was missed as I got in some much needed sleep. I did however wake up in time to make the remaining couple of hours of the North End Road market for a quick shop. After making my chutney and forcing it on my housemate, I got into my threads and armed with a new sense of optimism and a six pack (of beer, still working on the other); I headed to a long anticipated house party. Unfortunately, turning up to a house party at half ten does mean having to play catch up and talk to some drunken idiots. Around eleven I managed to set up camp in the corner of the living room where I held audience with some friends and caught up on the all the gossip. By three o’clock and after one slap, two rejections and a sick friend I stumbled home in an alcohol stupor sponsored by Kronenburg and Jose Cuervo.
Needless to say this chutney was the most successful enterprise of my weekend and has certainly added a little winter warmth to my sandwiches and cheese board. I also have plenty in reserve for any chutney related dilemmas that may arise.
Chilli and Pepper Chutney
Makes about 1 kg
You will need:
14 fresh red chillies
8 ripe red peppers (large)
2 medium red onions (peeled and chopped)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
5 cm piece of cinnamon
150 ml of balsamic vinegar
100g of brown sugar
salt and pepper
some sterilized jars (boiling them in water for about 30 – 45 minutes should do the trick)
- Place the chillies and peppers under a grill.
- Turn and grill until blackened and blistered all over (remember some will be done before the others).
- Once done carefully place the chillies and peppers into a bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm (as they cool, the vegetables will cook in their own steam).
- Once cooled, you should easily be able to peel of the skins, scoop out the seeds and trim the stalks.
- Place the deseeded, peeled and trimmed vegetables in a blender.
- Put to one side.
- Heat (medium) approximately one tablespoon off olive oil in a thick saucepan.
- Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon.
- Cook for about 20 minutes until onions are golden, rich and sticky.
- Add chillies, peppers, sugar and vinegar.
- Reduce until left with a thick and sticky chutney.
- Remove bay leaves, cinnamon and thyme.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Take off heat and spoon into your sterilized jars. Either:
- put in fridge for use straight away, or,
- place in a cool dark place (will keep for around two months).